Chemical reaction of spice blending

Dec 30, 2019
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So, my wife and I made commercial spice blends for more than a decade. She was always harping about order of addition; the order of adding the spices to a blend. I thought it was stupid. Then in chemistry I see that the same chemicles in the same amounts can make different things depending on the order of addition. Does the chemistry work on spice blending?
 
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Nov 27, 2019
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So, my wife and I made commercial spice blends for more than a decade. She was always harping about order of addition; the order of adding the spices to a blend. I thought it was stupid. Then in chemistry I see that the same chemicles in the same amounts can make different things depending on the order of addition. Does the chemistry work on spice blending?
That kind of makes sense to me. Like maybe X and Y combined make a product or something that makes it more effective with Z, aromatic or whatever. I wonder if that would apply to cooking also.
 
Dec 30, 2019
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That kind of makes sense to me. Like maybe X and Y combined make a product or something that makes it more effective with Z, aromatic or whatever. I wonder if that would apply to cooking also.
Really like your thought on the food chemistry. Order of addition may be the "je ne sait pas " ingredient! What fun.
 
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Apr 17, 2020
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OK I have B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and a working lifetime in Chemistry, but I would not call myself an expert in Chemistry. It is such a large subject. It is like saying you are an expert in French when you speak the language well, but then you have to know the whole of French literature as well to be an expert. Anyway I will try.

My first reaction (no pun intended) is that the order of addition should not matter. Food ingredients should not be chemically reactive because all sorts of dangers might arise. Reactivity might cause carcinogenic problem, and so on. Being reactive might mean they react with something in the body with adverse effect.

That is talking about chemical compatibility. But then I thought that there might be something in terms of physical compatibility - something like pH. for example.
You know there might be some problem where if you mix A and B you get an extremely thick. maybe jelly, which will not mix easily with anything. If you mix A and C first they are
thin and will then mix with B.

You really need a food chemist I suppose. Anyway, I will Google around and, if anything
 
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Mar 4, 2020
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I am not a chemist. But chemistry works on everything. The answer to your questions depends on other things. All the details count.

Are you using a blending media? What is the temperature? The size and refinement of the components can make a difference too. And much more. If you have been doing it for ten years, then you are the best to test it.

The best answer will come from you trying what your wife says.

In more ways than one.
 
Dec 30, 2019
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OK I have B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and a working lifetime in Chemistry, but I would not call myself an expert in Chemistry. It is such a large subject. It is like saying you are an expert in French when you speak the language well, but then you have to know the whole of French literature as well to be an expert. Anyway I will try.

My first reaction (no pun intended) is that the order of addition should not matter. Food ingredients should not be chemically reactive because all sorts of dangers might arise. Reactivity might cause carcinogenic problem, and so on. Being reactive might mean they react with something in the body with adverse effect.

That is talking about chemical compatibility. But then I thought that there might be something in terms of physical compatibility - something like pH. for example.
You know there might be some problem where if you mix A and B you get an extremely thick. maybe jelly, which will not mix easily with anything. If you mix A and C first they are
thin and will then mix with B.

You really need a food chemist I suppose. Anyway, I will Google around and, if anything
Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. Reading along I thought about yeast and flour or vinegar and baking soda or heat and baking powder. I am wondering if there is always a reaction but in only a few cases do we actually perceive the activity or taste the difference. What fun! Thank you again.
 
Apr 17, 2020
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You have found a very good example I had not thought of. You are better cooks than I am. If you want your baking to rise you include ingredients which react to give off a gas, which of course is harmless.
:)
 
Dec 30, 2019
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You have found a very good example I had not thought of. You are better cooks than I am. If you want your baking to rise you include ingredients which react to give off a gas, which of course is harmless.
:)
Just so you know, I had not thought of my examples until after I read your post. You are a catalyst with measurable results!
 
Apr 17, 2020
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" Then in chemistry I see that the same chemicles in the same amounts can make different things depending on the order of addition."

This is most certainly true. We once employed a consultant who suggested this and we fired him.
We reacted A and B to make an intermediate which we then reacted with C.
He suggested reacting A with C first, and then B. Unfortunately A and C reacted almost explosively blocking where B would have reacted. We knew this was obvious so we didn't need to try it.
 
Dec 30, 2019
53
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" Then in chemistry I see that the same chemicles in the same amounts can make different things depending on the order of addition."

This is most certainly true. We once employed a consultant who suggested this and we fired him.
We reacted A and B to make an intermediate which we then reacted with C.
He suggested reacting A with C first, and then B. Unfortunately A and C reacted almost explosively blocking where B would have reacted. We knew this was obvious so we didn't need to try it.
Consultant; rhymes with Temp worker. Glad no one was injured. Makes mixing spices for a decade seem quite safe. Who knew in high school the science nerds were such dare devils.
 
Apr 17, 2020
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Consultant; rhymes with Temp worker. Glad no one was injured. Makes mixing spices for a decade seem quite safe. Who knew in high school the science nerds were such dare devils.
I have nothing against consultants. I have been a consultant myself on numerous occasions - relationships that have lasted many years. Even 40 years ago I had 5 year contracts with openers of £5000 per annum each year before I even opened a letter (remember those - papers with writing on). So, no, I was not a temp worker.
Can you imagine - in those days I had a vacuum pump working away at 200 degrees C in my spare bedroom? Once I went out and left it alone for 4 hours. (Health and Safety?) The fact that I did not exceed a critical temperature (just by luck of being out) solved a problem with a value I can only count in millions for my client. Look back on your comments on mixing spices. Consider the conditions which apply in Chemistry which, after all, is just looking at how materials in the real world get along together.

You posted "Then in chemistry I see that the same chemicals in the same amounts can make different things depending on the order of addition."
OR by controlling the temperature within certain limits.

I have found this discussion most interesting. You started by asking about the variables in mixing ingredients in your business. We have looked around the chemistry of what, to be fair, should be quite a straightforward question.
Very reactive chemicals should be treated with caution in food products.
You came up with a gas reaction, which you were kind enough to say, was suggested by our discussions. This is a very widely used chemical reaction in baking but it liberates a harmless gas (in context). I am happy with the thought that our chat has been productive. By all means we can continue if you have further ideas.

Cat :)
 
Dec 30, 2019
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I have nothing against consultants. I have been a consultant myself on numerous occasions - relationships that have lasted many years. Even 40 years ago I had 5 year contracts with openers of £5000 per annum each year before I even opened a letter (remember those - papers with writing on). So, no, I was not a temp worker.
Can you imagine - in those days I had a vacuum pump working away at 200 degrees C in my spare bedroom? Once I went out and left it alone for 4 hours. (Health and Safety?) The fact that I did not exceed a critical temperature (just by luck of being out) solved a problem with a value I can only count in millions for my client. Look back on your comments on mixing spices. Consider the conditions which apply in Chemistry which, after all, is just looking at how materials in the real world get along together.

You posted "Then in chemistry I see that the same chemicals in the same amounts can make different things depending on the order of addition."
OR by controlling the temperature within certain limits.

I have found this discussion most interesting. You started by asking about the variables in mixing ingredients in your business. We have looked around the chemistry of what, to be fair, should be quite a straightforward question.
Very reactive chemicals should be treated with caution in food products.
You came up with a gas reaction, which you were kind enough to say, was suggested by our discussions. This is a very widely used chemical reaction in baking but it liberates a harmless gas (in context). I am happy with the thought that our chat has been productive. By all means we can continue if you have further ideas.

Cat :)
I consulted for twenty years on day to day contracts. Troubled companies. I know al the jokes.
I had a thought: can spices be categorized like acids and bases excetra? Would that be useful in understanding any possible reactions? I know vinegar affects chili pepper; I think it stabilizes the heat (measured in scoville units). It seems that one could find a simple way to test and measure various combinations, but what are we looking for in the tests? It would have to end with flavor measurements first the basics like salt, sweet, sour, bitter, hotness but there would need to be a further measure of "tastiness". What kind of measurements for that? Are there combinations that all humans "like"? Why? How enhanced? This conversation is expanding in all directions. Cumin is practically global in use; why? Does everybody mix their spices in the same order or heating process? Oh my.
 
Apr 17, 2020
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"can spices be categorized like acids and bases etcetera?"
I don't know. I suspect not if you mean measurements like pH.
You probably have properties in mind which can be measured but this is way out of my area of expertise.

" I think it stabilizes the heat (measured in scoville units)."

Yes, but it doesn't seem to have a precise numerical scale like pH.
I need to find out more about SHU.
https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk000Hya68hI7zUdd7RAHwfacUx0CDQ:1587487392991&q=scoville+scale&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjL2ZOx-_noAhWARhUIHVg5B24Q420oBnoECAwQDw
"The Scoville scale is a measurement of the pungency (spiciness or "heat") of chili peppers, as recorded in Scoville Heat Units (SHU) based on the concentration of capsaicinoids, among which capsaicin is the predominant component."

Cat
 
May 3, 2020
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I have been fascinated in recent years to read of reasons people use spices – and why some places use so much more than others – and to ferment food, which never ceases to amaze me with its simplicity of process and effectiveness of preservation, so this was a very interesting topic, and (haha) has given me food for thought. ~ Thanks

Perhaps the following would be of interest given the number of directions the exploration here as gone:
Antimicrobial Functions of Spices: Why Some Like it Hot
Why do people living in hot climates like their food spicy?
 
Dec 30, 2019
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I have been fascinated in recent years to read of reasons people use spices – and why some places use so much more than others – and to ferment food, which never ceases to amaze me with its simplicity of process and effectiveness of preservation, so this was a very interesting topic, and (haha) has given me food for thought. ~ Thanks

Perhaps the following would be of interest given the number of directions the exploration here as gone:
Antimicrobial Functions of Spices: Why Some Like it Hot
Why do people living in hot climates like their food spicy?
I have been fascinated in recent years to read of reasons people use spices – and why some places use so much more than others – and to ferment food, which never ceases to amaze me with its simplicity of process and effectiveness of preservation, so this was a very interesting topic, and (haha) has given me food for thought. ~ Thanks

Perhaps the following would be of interest given the number of directions the exploration here as gone:
Antimicrobial Functions of Spices: Why Some Like it Hot
Why do people living in hot climates like their food spicy?
So interesting. I might quibble with some of their conclusions. While I was a commercial spice blender I noticed that almost all cultures liked certain spices. Chile peppers everywhere. Cumin near universal use. Flavor like garlic are widely popular. Of course, books have been written about salt. If I had time (and the money) I would like to follow some spices around the world; see who likes what and what other spices do they mix it with and on what meats or vegetables. Ever eat a local dish that was fabulous then tried it in a different place and it was only so so? What environmental factors affect taste? Ever notice "Chineese" food is very popular in crowded cities? Or Size and preparation based on fuel availability. How time pressures and work environment affect meals. So much fun! Thank You for sharing!
 
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May 3, 2020
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You are asking great questions. I took a sociology class several years ago and was taken aback at how differently I noticed things in a situation simply by looking at it through a sociological lens. I think that I will be doing the same with food and spices now just from the questions you have posed.

If you come to any conclusions, or additional interesting questions, please share.
 
Mar 29, 2020
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Back to blending spices, it's unlikely that order of addition matters when you are talking mixing dry spices. There isn't really a medium for reactions to occur in, which would usually be water.
Think about baking powder, which is made from a dry acid and a dry base, and only activates when water is present.
 
Dec 30, 2019
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Back to blending spices, it's unlikely that order of addition matters when you are talking mixing dry spices. There isn't really a medium for reactions to occur in, which would usually be water.
Think about baking powder, which is made from a dry acid and a dry base, and only activates when water is present.
Yes, I see your point. What about a spice mix that comes in a jar with lots of water or oil? Even then maybe to minor a reaction to measure by taste. Still it would be fun to be able to measure any reaction however possible. Or maybe a sauce could react with a chicken dish when poured on. Or, imagine a recipe that says add the cumin to the slurry wait five minutes and add the coriander and wait three minutes then add...
 

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